Saturday, 28 September 2019

MOTI'S FIRM LOOTED RESOURCES, LICENCE NOT RENEWED


The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) has declined to renew a chrome export permit for leading chrome producer — African Chrome Fields (ACF) — after unearthing serious irregularities in the way the company was conducting business which bordered on looting, The Sunday Mail Business can reveal.

ACF is a joint venture between Sakunda Holdings and Johannesburg-based sub-Saharan conglomerate — Moti group — which has interests that straddle across mining, aviation, property development and transport.

The Moti group last year switched on an Aluminothermic Chrome processing Plant near Kwekwe and also signed a deal which would have seen the concern absorbing chrome produce by small-scale miners through a vehicle called the Zimbabwe Motivational Mining (ZMM). 

However, over the last few days, the group’s senior executives have been quoted in some sections of the South African media as well as locally denouncing the new dispensation and Zimbabwe as an unattractive investment destination.

The group also announced that it was retrenching about 500 workers in a move that signals the beginning of the firm’s withdrawal from Zimbabwe.

Investigations by The Sunday Mail Business have, however, shown that contrary to the group’s assertion that the Zimbabwean unit was negatively affecting its overall performance, reality is that it was the local authorities that had pulled the plug.

In an interview on Friday, exclusive state minerals marketing arm, MMCZ, said it was “correcting the mess” surrounding ACF to ensure that the company doesn’t continue to “milk” the country of its resources.
  
“That’s correct,” said Mr Muzenda when asked if the marketer is handling a case involving suspected ill-practice by ACF.

“MMCZ is correcting the mess and the Moti group thinks we are being unreasonable. They have been milking the country and we cannot continue to allow nonsense like that, because if you do the numbers you will realise that the country has been subsidising their operations.

“They (ACF) claimed that they had a ferry chrome plant in South Africa for further processing the ore (but) we do not believe they have.

“What is really unacceptable is that they were exporting chrome ore, alluvial and stuff for onward beneficiation in South Africa but we are of the view that they were not beneficiating, they were just exporting and the country was getting nothing.

“The other unfortunate part is that somewhere along the way, someone, I really don’t know what they were thinking, gave them national project status and why they got it I just don’t know but we will sort it out,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from ACF and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development were unsuccessful by the time of going to print but the Ministry is on record saying it was pushing for chrome beneficiation as a means to boost revenue and creating jobs through smelters. 

In an interview in June, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said Government had gotten assurance from the private sector that they will accelerate beneficiation and in turn had decided to park a beneficiation penalty.

“. . . we had introduced a two percent beneficiation penalty tax for all the chrome that was being exported as concentrates or lumpy but the miners came to us and asked that we suspend the penalty,” the Deputy Minister told the Sunday Mail in June. Sunday Mail

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